Today we celebrated our ninth anniversary. We didn’t do much, just had my sister watch the girls while we stuffed our faces with all you can eat salad at Olive Garden. I’ll admit it, I can’t help myself on the salad when I go there, but at least it fills me up enough to bring my main dish home to eat over the next day or two. That works for me!
In honor of our ninth anniversary I thought I’d tell you a bit about our honeymoon hot air balloon ride. I told you once before about how I almost ruined my engagement. That was a funny story, this one is more of a “those are some pretty cool pictures!” At least I think they’re pretty cool.
In true me fashion, we almost didn’t get to go on our balloon ride either, which was the one big thing I wanted to do on our honeymoon, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me set the scene.
We took our honeymoon in Colorado. Most people think of the Vail area for skiing, but it’s an amazing place to go in the fall. August may be hot in Nebraska, but in Colorado, up in the mountains, its hot during the day, but not too bad, and it’s kinda chilly in the mornings and evenings. It was perfect weather. My sister gave us use of their timeshare for our honeymoon so we could spend the extra money we had on fun stuff.
The big expensive thing I wanted to do was ride a hot air balloon. I’d always wanted too and I didn’t think I’d ever get the chance again. Who knows, we still might do it again, but I knew it would be a long shot. That was one of the first phone calls we made. We got it booked right away. I was thrilled.
We spent a couple of days doing other touristy stuff, riding horses, eating delicious food in the area, walking around Vail. Finally the day of our balloon ride came up! They do them early in the mornings, so we had to be ready. Our room phone rang. It was the balloon place telling us they couldn’t take the balloons up that day because of the weather.
I was crushed. I’m sure my face crumpled or sank or one of those other descriptive terms. Whatever it did, I was heart broken. I asked if they could do it another day. The only other day they had was the day we were leaving town. I didn’t care. Let’s do it! I figured we could ride the balloon then drive the ten hours home afterwards.
Our last morning in Colorado arrived and we had all of our stuff packed and loaded. Now we just waited in the lobby for our balloon tour shuttle. They arrived around 7am or so and we hopped on the shuttle and we were off to our launch location.
When we got there, Merlin from Camelot Balloon Rides, also our shuttle driver, explained to us that before we could get the balloons ready to go we had to check the weather. He did all this while holding a small helium balloon. He told us the air currents in the mountains are a bit different so as the balloon rose he could watch how it moved in the air and know if the conditions would be right for the balloon. Sure enough as the small balloon went up it danced a bit in the currents and Merlin was satisfied we could get the hot air balloons out.
Close up with fire! Gotta make these pictures dramatic.
This here is a picture of the burner. It gets pretty hot and a bit smelly while on the balloon in that cramped space of a basket. Good thing the air is fresher and you feel a bit more out in the open when you turn around and stop looking in the basket and pay attention to the view around you.
We’re still waving and happy right after lift off. Actually I was surprised when we did get off the ground. It was slow and gentle I didn’t even feel it until someone told me to take a look. I was busy with those pictures of the inside of the balloon, remember?
We’re from Nebraska. You know, the great American flat lands. When a hot air balloon flies over our area it goes in one direction. We’ve seen this many times with the balloons that fly near our home. We even had one practically land in our back yard! In Colorado, however, the mountains cause the air currents to change direction at different heights. Because of this the balloon pilot is able to take us up and back down in roughly the same area.
With that said, after sailing around the sky in a hot air balloon, our time finally came to land. Merlin, who was now our balloon pilot, warned us to brace ourselves because coming down isn’t quite as gentle as going up. He was right, it was quite a bit rougher, but it wasn’t too bad. We could handle it and we all climbed out. A successful balloon flight!
But that’s not where the story ends.
After the balloon ride, all the riders went back to home base, or whatever they call it, and we had a champaign toast. Here it was 9 or 10 in the morning and we were celebrating with mimosas. We learned this was a common tradition among balloonists, and it was one I wasn’t going to have stop with me!
We had a couple of glasses of mimosas, sat an chatted with our new found friends and had a wonderful morning. Before we jumped back on the shuttle bus we were presented with little hot air balloons made from the champaign corks. They were adorable and I still have mine…somewhere. I’m pretty sure it’s in my scrapbooking box in the basement. I may have to dig it out!
That concludes our hot air balloon experience. I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the story. It really was an amazing adventure and I’m hooked on it…even though I haven’t been on a balloon again in nine years, it’s still on my to do list to take part in a ride again.
Have you ever ridden in a hot air ballon? If not, would you? Tell me about it in the comments.